Four years ago Rich and I said ideally we would like a second location for the summer months. This was to escape the heat of the Costa Blanca, to allow us to continue offering guiding and climbing courses, so good rock was a must. We also wanted somewhere with grass for the 4 horses we had rescued and of course good riding.
We started to look at areas around Andorra, however, before we could even go house hunting a friend said “Bulgaria”as she had just moved over there. We both said “er, where is that?”, we even had to look on a map to check its location.
So, in true Sam and Rich style we just booked a flight and headed over. At first it was a shock to the system with its terrible roads and strange alphabet but we did love the green everywhere which was such a contrast from dry Spain. Added bonus everything was so, so cheap, eating out was a dream, we loved the food and found the Bulgarian people super friendly. So we took a leap of faith and bought a house.
Now, maybe we didn’t do enough research, but that is not us, to truly know if something is going to work, I think you have to really experience it. So, we drove over in the May, lock stock and 4 horses, 5 dogs and started our new life.
Sadly after only 3 years, although we still love the place and have made the most amazing friends, its just not right in more ways than one.
Firstly, its just too far east, I wish I could pick it up and place it right next to France! The commute to The Orange House has been a nightmare. The winters are just too hard and cold and the summers are too hot. Rich has been so busy with the courses and private guiding back in Spain that I have been here mostly by myself, not what we had in mind.
But, the No 1 deciding factor has to be the rock climbing, it is just not right. The area we choose does have some crags, and Rich has developed his own in our village, but its just not enough. Further afield is Vratsa with its big mountains, but too far for a day trip. The Eyes of God caves are also gob smacking, but again not on the doorstep. We did think to move closer to these locations, but that doesn’t help with the winter months and getting easily backwards and forwards to Spain.
We have brought some clients over and of course Mr Steve McClure, and all have loved it, but logistics have to be easier. So I guess it will not be a surprise to alot of people that we are off on our next adventure and a location has been chosen.
Rich guided a lovely couple in The Picos De Europa a few years ago, he was totally blown away with the place and I remember all he did was call me saying “Sam, you would so love it up here”. I cant believe we are hopefully moving to a place I have never even visited! This is so like us!
The Picos are located on the North Coast of Spain, The Green coast they call it. With its large mountain range, 1000s of sports routes, the closeness to the ferry back to the UK, it sounds perfect. Its only an 8 hour drive back to the Costa Blanca, green grass for the horses, cooler temperatures in the summer. Sounds good so far!
So the house search is on! We will leave Bulgaria this autumn with the dogs and horses and move back to the Eco house on the hill. I guess as one adventure ends another begins and we are super excited to be based back in Spain for the winter season. Although we have had amazing managers for the past 3 years,we look forward to being around to welcome our guests in person.
For anyone interested in climbing in The Picos get a copy of this guidebook and get in touch and see what we have accommodation wise…
P.S For those that know about our charity “Team Paws”, this will continue with the most amazing people here on the ground and I will be behind the scenes helping with promotion and will be back on a regular basis to see my wonderful friends who I will miss loads.